A wonderful evening of celebration was had at the Park Hyatt Grand Ballroom on Friday April 1 to celebrate the College’s 150 years. Originally planned for October 2021, we finally got the event to the line to fittingly celebrate.

Close to 400 were in attendance ranging from Old Paradian's from the 1950’s through to 2020. 14 Past College Captains were scattered around the room from Dennis Green (1958) to Michael Donato (2017). The venue set up around 40 tables of Old Paradians' and guests to enjoy an evening of connection, reminisces and celebration of our College.

We were blessed and most fortunate to have the services of Daniel Harford (1994) who so generously gave of his time and talent to MC the event. A professional and entertaining effort right down to leading a rousing rendition of the College’s famed ‘War Cry” to conclude the evening’s formalities.

The College’s first lay Principal in that 150 years, Andy Kuppe (1983) spoke passionately of its history and contribution to catholic education in Victoria in his address. He followed with the launch of the Parade College Foundation and the history of the many Old Paradians' and Catholic community over the 150 years that contributed so generously to the College’s establishment and development from the East Melbourne days, the purchase of Parade College Alphington site, the establishment and development of the Bundoora campus through to the College’s Preston campus. Andy was able to recognise the contributions of Foundation subcommittee members, Old Paradian Andy Walsh (1971), John Dinan (1977), financial adviser Dino Rebellato (1978), and College Alumni officer and OPA CEO Tony De Bolfo (1980) for their efforts in bringing the Foundation to a reality.

Andy was also able to launch Tony De Bolfo’s book Parade Thy Sons Volume 2 at the celebration. Andy was able to acknowledge the wonderful skills and gifts that Tony has in the story telling of several Old Paradians' spanning from 1963 to the present day. He also acknowledged the work of editor John Ramsdale (1966) who unveiled a framed portrait of the front covers of both Volumes of the book. Andy was able to reflect that “each story tells the Parade story, but no one story tells the Parade story” Andy was also able to recognise those who had the honour of being in the book and Volume 1 who were in the room that night.

Old Paradians' Association President Dr Paul Shannon (1985) was able to welcome all present in the room, including three of the 4 living Parade College Principals, Principals Brother Laurie Collins (1983-1988) and Br Brian Bond (1989-1994), and of course current Principal Andy Kuppe. Paul was also able to welcome the College’s first female student Elnaz (2014). Paul was also able to acknowledge and thank the College Development Team for putting the occasion together.

We were blessed to have Father Joe Caddy VG AM, Vicar General Catholic Archdiocese Melbourne (1977) who was able to say Grace

A highlight of the evening was the induction of our latest Hall of Fame recipients. Each was presented on stage to a standing ovation. Significantly Michael Pratt (1972) and Hall of Fame recipient in 2011 assisted Daniel Harford with the presentations.

Peter ‘Wheels’ Bedford (1964) was the first Hall of Fame recipient presented. Originally to be inducted in 2021, but postponed because of COVID, Peter, an outstanding sportsman in both Football and Cricket, emotionally accepted the honour. Peter is a proud Old Paradian and acknowledged the tremendous influence the school had on his life.

Terry Moran AM AO (1966) was next inducted to the Old Paradians' Hall of Fame. Terry was College Captain (Head Prefect) in his final year and went on to an outstanding career in public service administration and leadership rising to become the most senior public servant in the country. Terry spoke of the powerful influences the College provided laying foundations for his personal and professional life. His reflections on the Rudd Gillard years as Head of the Department of PM an Cabinet were illuminating as were some exchanges that took place with his political bosses.

Michael Drapac (1973) was the next recipient of the Old Paradians' Association’s coveted Hall of Fame. Michael was able to reflect upon the positive impact the College had on him and the sacrifices his mother made to educate him and his two brothers. Daniel Harford was able to get Michael to outline his passion for sustainability not only in business but also his sporting interest with Cycling and horse racing. Michael has earned an international recognition for this sustainability focus.

Martin Macaulay, Music Director at the College 1990-2018 was able to proudly accept the Hall of Fame award on behalf of Wally De Backer, College Captain 1998. Wally, but better known for his stage name Gotye has been able to build an extremely successful music career as a composer, singer and songwriter currently residing in New York. Wally developed a love and passion for music at the College, Martin Macaulay said he was the best music student he had and that he was privileged to be part of Wally’ journey. The iconic tune 'Somebody That I Used To Know’ became a global phenomenon earning Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Best Pop duo performance. The song has had almost two billion hits on YouTube worldwide. Wally’s Hall of Fame Award will be delivered to his parents to pass onto him next trip to the US.

Portrait panels of the newly inducted Hall of Fame recipients will have pride of place in the Hall of Fame Gallery Hickey Foyer Bundoora and the Penola Foyer Preston Campus.

We wish to acknowledge and thank the generosity of our sponsors of the Gala event. QUBE Logistics as the presenting sponsor. Silver sponsors Wilson Plumbing and Drainage, OTI Racing and Bloodstock, Melbourne Chain Wire Fencing, The Jericho Cup, Blended Services Group and Striking Constructions. Purple sponsors Programmed Property Services , Omni Care and Morris Cohen Glen Chartered Accountants and Miles Real Estate.

The OPA aims to establish an annual gathering each October to give old boys across the generations a chance to catch up and connect. Waiting for 10, 20, 30, 40 or 50 year reunions in many ways is not desirable. An opportunity on an annual basis, same date and time and venue that old boys can put in the calendar, get some mates together to catch up and connect is the aim.

Some guests at the 150 year celebration reflected that a regular (annual) OPA organised event would be appreciated.

We are looking at holding the first of these annual events Friday October 21 (Cox Plate Eve). Details to follow but you can put the date in your diaries now!

John Nicholls

(On behalf of OPA)